Tuesday, 13 May 2014

A real rarity

We had a rarity into the Global Short Story Competition overnight - a story written in the second person.

Not often used in fiction, second person relies on the pronouns you, your, and yours and is more often used to address the audience in technical writing, advertising, songs and speeches. In fiction it would allow lines like ‘You feel uneasy the moment you turn into the street.‘

It differs from first person, which uses pronouns including I and me, and third person, which uses pronouns such as he and she.

Examples of second person slogans from the advertising world include It’s Your World. Take Control, and How Big Can You Dream?

And, of course, American president J F Kennedy famously said: “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
It’s odd that it is not used more in fiction; it is a direct way of addressing the reader, putting them in the middle of the action and challenging them with every word. Maybe it’s time for it to make a comeback?

John Dean

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